Friday, September 12, 2014

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Music: Cindy & Roy - Can You Feel It - disco/pop music video

Chinese president proposes anti-extremism treaty, urges joint efforts to combat internet terrorism

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday called for joint efforts to fight extremism and internet terrorism among the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
"Currently, (we) should focus on combating religion-involved extremism and internet terrorism," said Xi when delivering a speech at the 14th meeting of the SCO Council of Heads of State in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe.
He suggested the SCO members launch consultation on an anti-extremism convention and initiate studies on a mechanism for actions against internet terrorism.
"(We) should take it as our own responsibility to safeguard regional security and stability, enhance our ability to maintain stability, continue to boost cooperation on law enforcement and security, and improve the existing cooperation mechanisms," said Xi.
The president also called on the SCO members -- China, Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan -- to grant the group's Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure (RCTS) new function to combat drug trafficking at an early date.
"(We) should make concerted efforts to crack down on the 'three evil forces' of terrorism, extremism and separatism," Xi said.

#YesScotland - We are #ActiveYes

#YesScotland - on September 18th #voteYes

#YesScotland - Scots Asians for Yes: our time is now

President Obama speaks on the 20th Anniversary of Americorps

Turkey and the ‘Jihadist Highway’

Sami Zahed
Can you hear that creaking sound under the Bosphorus Bridge? Perhaps someone should alert President Barack Obama as he strides across it to build his coalition to confront the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The bridge, traditionally seen as the link between West and East, the Christian and Muslim worlds, NATO and the Arab states, may now be one that Washington should be treading on more cautiously.
Those on both sides are waiting impatiently for Obama to comprehensively outline his strategy for dealing with ISIS on Wednesday. He declared on Sunday that Sunni states, including NATO member Turkey, will need to “step up” and play an enhanced role in this conflict. But in order for Ankara to be part of the solution to the tornado that is ISIS, the Obama administration would be wise to make clear that it was Turkey’s pro-Islamist policies in Syria (and Egypt) that paved the way for this catastrophe.
Ankara’s track record of controlling the flow of fighters and cracking down on ISIS activity in its border towns is not one that inspires confidence. The most common accusation is that Turkey turns a “blind eye” to the group’s activities along the “Jihadist Highway” that feeds the pool of extremism in Syria. Whether this was part of a planned strategy to support ISIS, or an inadvertent consequence of supporting rebels in general, is a matter of speculation. As the Washington Post suggests, an explanation may be that indirect support came as a result of an inability to differentiate between the various opposition groups on the ground, despite official rhetoric only claiming support for moderate factions.
But others, such as Jon Alterman, director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, believe that ISIS’ ability to run riot along the Turkish border may not have been so uncontrollable for Turkey. Alterman said in June that some regional governments are taking the view that “it’s not that we’re really supporting them, we’re just turning the other way while other people support them… we’re not as aggressive going after financing as we need to be.” He went on to advocate that the U.S. should diplomatically push back against the idea that “a little bit of terrorism helps their strategic interests.”
Extremism-friendly policy
Such an extremism-friendly policy is likely to have factored into Turkey’s calculations, given its dedication to the removal of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. In this scenario ISIS could be seen less as an uncontainable force, but as potential lever to loosen the regime’s grip on Syria that, perhaps, could always be reined in later once Damascus falls.
Despite the growing international criticism, “Turkey will be and today is an asset,” according to James Jeffrey, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Iraq. He did, however, state in an interview that Turkey will need to rise to the occasion and take steps to choke off the radicals, including “closing its borders to ISIS personnel and facilitating air operations from the U.S. and its allies.” Jeffrey even goes so far as to say that Turkey should take its own direct action, but acknowledges that the fate of the hostages from its captured Mosul consulate could severely limit its options towards a vicious foe.
It remains to be seen how Turkey’s policies will alter the Obama administration’s relationship with Ankara, but the president’s choice of language in recent months has been increasingly accusatory and underlies the West’s sense of frustration. In his August 28 speech, Obama said: “The truth is that we’ve had state actors who at times have thought that the way to advance their interests is, ‘Well, financing some of these groups as proxies is not such a bad strategy.’”
Rather tellingly, the use of the term “state actors” is not limited to American officials. United Nations Security Council Resolution 2170 “reiterates further the obligation of Member States to prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups,” referring to foreign fighters crossing borders to join ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other al-Qaeda-affiliated groups. This language indicates that the international community is in agreement that ISIS has probably benefited from the policies of implied state actors, or at least their wealthy citizens.
The rising pressure on state-facilitators is a welcome development because, in the long term, it is essential to stemming the tide of extremist Islamist groups. In this case such pressure should be brought to bear on the ruling Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) to abandon its policy of expanding its influence in the Arab world through supporting Islamist proxies. According to Soner Cagaptay in the Wall Street Journal, this policy has been so disastrous that “Turkey has lost all access to the Middle East.” Perhaps most significantly, Ankara’s strong opposition to the new Egyptian government following last year’s ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood-oriented presidency of Mohammad Mursi has caused even more damage to its regional standing. With very few friends left in the Middle East following these diplomatic disasters, Turkey may now be in retreat.
That is why the moment is now for Obama to lay down the law with his NATO ally and insist that Ankara amend its expansionist foreign policy and steer away from what seems to be attempts to exert its influence by using extreme Islamist proxies. Two years ago, such demands would have been unworkable given Turkey’s diplomatic gains, but since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s rise in Egypt, Turkey has lost favor with Saudi Arabia, UAE, Iraq and is now incurring the dismay of the West. Given their regional isolation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu may now be more receptive to adapting their Middle East strategy.
On Wednesday, those on both sides of this divide must see whether Obama’s comprehensive strategy will involve crossing the bridge in its current, questionable state, or whether efforts will be made behind the scenes to strengthen the Bosphorus’ moorings before utilizing its familiar path once again.

#YesScotland - Independence is now within touching distance

SOMETHING more than autumn is in the air.
A slow-motion revolution is in progress. It has been building, steadily but surely, since the start of the year, fuelled by a desire for change and a backlash against those still ordering Scotland about like a bellhop.
George Osborne's refusal to entertain a formal currency union with an independent Scotland?
It produced an upsurge in the polls for Yes.
Treasury warnings of economic collapse in spite of mind-boggling oil reserves offshore? More advances in the polls for Yes.
David Cameron, whose job and place in history depends on a No vote, prophesying mortgage spikes, pension doom and EU gridlock? The Yes vote grew regardless.
Through all those scare stories and thou-shalt-nots the people of Scotland listened, learned, reflected and came to their own decisions.
They have not been hurried or pushed around or felt obliged to vote in a party-political herd.
Almost one-third of those who supported Labour in the 2011 Scottish election say they will vote Yes, for all the growls of Gordon Brown, while one-fifth of those who supported the SNP will reject Alex Salmond's pleas and vote No.
It is democracy in action and a stirring, inspiring sight.
Now we have seen the first poll to show the Yes campaign ahead of Better Together.
The pro-union campaign no longer talks dismissively of "wavy lines" in the data, as if the electorate were essentially fixed in favour of the Union.
Last week, after YouGov recorded a jump in Yes support, the Unionists finally woke up to what the Yes camp had been trying in vain to tell them for months: that Scotland is on the move.
As we also report today, a new Panelbase poll shows buoyant support for Yes, rising most sharply among female voters hitherto resistant to it.
The fostering of a grass-roots operation and the appeal to voters' better nature rather than the stoking of their fears is paying dividends.
Momentum is wholly with the Yes campaign.
That can not only inspire campaigners on the ground, it can snowball into further momentum.
And this is before Nigel Farage holds a Ukip rally in Glasgow next Friday and the Orange Order holds a march in Edinburgh the day after.
However, if Scotland is to become independent, as this paper firmly believes it should, this is no time for mis-steps of our own.
The failure of four SNP MPs to attend a key Commons vote on the bedroom tax on Friday was one mistake the Yes campaign could have done without.
It was a mistake which must not be repeated.
The late Roy Jenkins famously said Tony Blair approached the 1997 election "as if carrying a Ming vase across a polished floor".
The hopes carried by the Yes campaign are far more precious. But it should remember Jenkins's image.
Independence is tantalisingly close, but it is certainly not yet secure.
Alistair Darling is right in one thing: this is a campaign that will be fought down to the wire.
It may be hard to see how the Westminster establishment can stem the tide now lapping its chin, but it should not be underestimated.
Now the Unionists have been shaken from their complacency, an ugly fightback is inevitable.
The Labour bruisers touring Scotland this week did not earn that nickname by chance.
John Prescott, Ed Balls and Gordon Brown will be doing their utmost to cow Labour voters.
There will be scare stories galore.
The end will be nigh, no doubt.
There may, if they howl enough, be jitters in the financial markets, which they may enjoy.
Liberal Democrat politicians and the odd Conservative will join them at the klaxons.
And the country, on current form, will listen, reflect, and come to its own decision.
It is independent-minded already.
The next step is obvious.

Scotland ready to make history

Scotland's pro-independence leader Alex Salmond said the eyes of the world are on a momentous referendum next week, as the latest poll suggested voters will narrowly choose to remain in the United Kingdom.
Many nations with separatist movements are following the campaign closely -- including Spain, where the government has ruled out a referendum for Catalan independence or devolution.
Salmond said on Thursday that the September 18 poll would be "a process of national empowerment", as new figures came out showing a record 4.3 million people had registered to vote -- higher than for any previous elections in Scotland.
"Scotland is on the cusp of making history. The eyes of the world are upon Scotland," Salmond, Scottish First Minister and the head of Scotland's current devolved government, said in an Edinburgh speech.
"On September 18, we the people hold our destiny in our own hands."
British media said new figures meant 97% of the electorate had now registered to vote, including many 16- and 17-year-olds who are allowed to take part under referendum rules.
But a new poll showed voters could narrowly reject independence, putting the "No" side four points ahead of the pro-independence camp -- with 52% against independence and 48% in favour when "don't knows" were excluded.
It was the first time the "No" campaign had gained ground in a YouGov poll since early August, when surveys began to show the pro-independence side receiving a surge of support. The previous YouGov poll on Saturday put the pro-independence side narrowly ahead.
The vote would bring to an abrupt end a 307-year-old union between England and Scotland and create Europe's newest state since the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
'Huge pressure on Madrid'
Around 100 journalists from around the world were present at Thursday's press conference, with many asking about what Scotland's relation to their country would be -- including journalists from Catalonia.
On Thursday, hundreds of thousands of Catalan nationalist demonstrators, some waving the blue and white Scottish flag, filled the streets of Barcelona in a mass rally to demand a vote like Scotland's.
"A 'Yes' vote would put a huge pressure on Madrid. Scotland is not a remote country somewhere in the world. It's just next door," said Carles Costa from TV3 public television in Catalonia, who was at Salmond's press conference.
"Even with a 'No', people in Catalonia will say, 'Why is this not possible in Spain?'"
But Shuhei Nakayama, from Japanese broadcaster NHK, said most people in Japan had "a confused idea of the situation".
"Most don't know Scotland is already a region with many powers. Some think it's a country already as they have a football team," he said.
"It's very interesting to see a nation that might break away without any violence," he added.
The campaign -- and the promise of greater devolution if the "No" camp wins the vote -- has also bolstered demands from local authorities for greater powers within England and Wales.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is on Friday expected to launch a report calling for a major programme of devolution within England after the next general election in May 2015. Meanwhile, British opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband will lead an anti-independence rally alongside former prime minister Gordon Brown in Glasgow, while anti-European firebrand Nigel Farage also plans a demonstration in the city.
'Responsible and prudent'
The International Monetary Fund on Thursday warned that a vote for independence would raise "complicated issues" and could upset financial markets.
"While this uncertainty could lead to negative market reactions in the short term, the longer term will depend on the decisions being made during the transition," IMF spokesman Bill Murray said.
The Royal Bank of Scotland has said it would relocate its registered offices in case of a "Yes" vote, saying this was the "responsible and prudent thing to do", but underlining it would not mean moving jobs south.
RBS was bailed out by the British government following the 2008 financial crisis and its announcement came after London-based Lloyds Banking Group also said it had plans for possibly switching key operations from Scotland to England.
Edinburgh-based RBS is 81% owned by the British state, which also retains a 25% stake in bailed-out Lloyds.
Big business leaders have mostly lined up against independence, although the chief executive of Scotland's largest fund manager, Aberdeen Asset Management, has said that an independent Scotland would be "a big success".
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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari pays glowing tributes to MRD Martyrs
Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has paid glowing tributes to the nine Party martyrs who laid down their lives during MRD movement in Khairpur Nathan Shah this day in 1983. These heroes of democratic movement were martyred in ruthless firing on the protesting workers from different villages in Khairpur Nathan Shah by dictator Gen Zia’s martial law forces to quell the struggle led by Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Begum Nusrat Bhutto for restoration of democracy.
He said these innocent Party workers carried no weapons or batons during their struggle for democracy yet they were targeted by roaring guns of the dictator Zia and embraced Shahadat for the cause of the nation and democratic order.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari saluted each martyr of Khairpur Nathan Shah including Aziz Lakhair, Shahnawaz Khoso, Ghulam Nabi Khoso, Nizamuddin Naich, Habibullah Leghari, Deedar Khokhar, Allah Warrayo Langah, Abdul Ghani Abro and Zamir Jagirani.
Pakistan Peoples Party is observing the 31st Martyrdom Day of MRD Martyrs in Dadu district and PPP MNA Imran Leghari has organized a programme to pay homage to them.
Chairperson said PPP would never forget the martyrs, both leaders and workers, as they continue to inject strength in the continuing struggle for democracy. Instead of avenging these martyrdoms, the PPP chose the Democracy to be the Best Revenge because we are waging Jehad for the rights of downtrodden, oppressed and poverty-ridden people of Pakistan and their bright future.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also asked the Sindh government to look after the families of our martyrs as he would never tolerate any complaint of the martyrs’ families.

India has second-highest number of child marriages: Unicef

The highest rate of child marriage is in Bangladesh (where two out of every three girls marry before age 18), followed by India, Nepal and Afghanistan.
India had the highest number of unregistered children under age five between 2000 and 2012 and the second-highest number of child marriages, according to a U.N. report which said the country still needs to improve immunisation coverage and stop gender-based sex selection.
The report “Improving Children’s Lives, Transforming the Future — 25 years of child rights in South Asia” by the United Nations’ children agency, Unicef, analyses the progress made over the last quarter century on key issues that directly affect the lives of children in the region.
At 71 million, India had the largest number of children under the age of five whose births were not registered between 2000-2012.
The report said that birth registration levels in South Asia have increased since 2000, but progress has been slow.
India, along with Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives, has been recording “significant improvements” in birth registration but about 100 million children in the region are still not registered at birth.
India has the greatest disparity between the poorest and richest households, with children in the poorest households being three times less likely to be registered than those in the richest.
Religion also appears to play a role as Muslims have the lowest level of birth registration in India (39 per cent) followed by Hindus (40 per cent) while the Jains have the highest (87 per cent).
46% of South Asian girls marry by 18
Almost half of all girls in South Asia marry before the age of 18. One in five girls are married before the age of 15. These are the highest rates in the world.
“These figures confirm that child marriage is rooted in gender norms and in expectations about the value and roles of girls,” the report added.
In India, 43 per cent of women aged 20-24 were first married by the age of 18 between 2005-2013. Girls with no education are 5.5 times more likely to marry or enter into union as those with at least 10 years of education.
On gender-biased sex selection, the report said the practice is more prevalent in the west and northwest part of the country. The child sex ratio, which is the number of girls per 1,000 boys, among children aged 0-4 in India was 924.
On immunisation coverage, it said some countries in South Asia, particularly Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, have made significant improvements since 1990 but coverage is still far too low in Afghanistan, India and Pakistan.
The report was released to commemorate 25 years since the 1989 U.N. adoption of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. It pointed to some improvements over the past two decades as South Asian government adopted policies to protect child rights.
The prevalence of children with stunted growth in the region dropped from more than 60 per cent in 1990 to 38 per cent in 2012 as nutrition improved, the report said. Still, the report said regional averages mask disparities, with stunting far more pervasive among children from poor families, rural areas and oppressed ethnicities.
It said more than 2 million South Asian children die before their fifth birthday of preventable causes, and nearly 38 per cent of children have chronic malnutrition.

Afghanistan - Harassment, Threats Don't Slow Down Afghan Women's Cycling Team

The members of Afghanistan' national cycling team face frequent criticism and even violence from men who consider their behavior to be un-Islamic. But that hasn't deterred them from training hard, competing abroad, and encouraging other young women to exercise their hard-won freedoms.

Afghanistan: Students in Khost Study in Open Areas

In eastern Khost many teachers and students have raised concerns on the lack of school buildings in the province to properly teach children in an appropriate school ambiance.
More than 60 percent of the schools in Khost are taught in open fields; no site of physical buildings and proper equipment for teaching. The pupils and their teacher are outside in the various weather conditions, under the scorching sun, heavy rain and strong winds, learning their lesson of the day.
Khost Governor Abdul Jabbar Naeemi has responded to the calls of many parents, provincial officials and students' explaining that work is underway to solve the issues quickly.
"We have accelerated efforts in the education sector and have seen positive outcomes," Naeemi said. "We will further extend our rapid pace of work to solve the current and ongoing issues in the education division."
Officials of the local education department have promised to look into and solve the problems.
"A large number of students continue to pursue their education in open air under the unforgiving sunlight, which can be distressing, and we are struggling to overcome the issue in the next few years," Khost Deputy Head of the Education Department, Matifullah Fazli, said.
Millions of U.S. dollars have been donated to Afghanistan's education section, but focus on the sector is not seen illuminated throughout the country, as schools in provinces like Khost physically do not exist creating a rough and unbearable learning environment.

Pakistan: Attackers of Malala, Kainat and Shazia apprehended: DG ISPR

In a special briefing to the media on Friday, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa said security forces have apprehended terrorists involved in the attempt to kill Malala Yousufzai in Swat.
According to the details, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Asim Bajwa said on Friday that Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Mullah Fazlullah is sitting in Afghanistan and is planning terrorist attacks from there.
In a special briefing to the media on Friday, Bajwa said security forces have apprehended terrorists involved in the attempt to kill Malala Yousufzai, Kainat and Shazia.
Malala was attacked when unknown assailants opened fire on her school van in Mingora in October 2012. Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for attacking her.

Malala Yousafzai's Attackers Arrested: Pakistan Army

The Pakistani army said Friday it had arrested the gunmen who tried to kill schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai in the country's restive northwest in 2012.
The teenage activist was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen but recovered and went on to earn international plaudits for her fight for the right of all children to an education.
The detention of the 10 men, a joint operation involving army, police and intelligence agencies, came as part of the Pakistani military's ongoing offensive against the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other extremist outfits.
"The group involved in the attack on Malala Yousufzai has been arrested," Major General Asim Bajwa told a news conference.
He said the group was part of the TTP and the plan to kill Malala came from network's current leader Maulana Fazlullah.
After narrowly surviving the assassination bid, Malala was taken to Britain with her family for treatment, where she now lives.
Her courageous recovery has made her a global figure -- she won the EU's prestigious Sakharov human rights prize last year and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
An address she gave to the United Nations General Assembly in July last year, in which she vowed she would never be silenced, earned her a standing ovation.
Malala first rose to prominence in 2009, aged just 11, with a blog for the BBC Urdu service chronicling life under Taliban rule in Swat, the beautiful valley in northwestern Pakistan where she lived.

Demystifying India’s Volte-Face on Pakistan

By Ali Ahmed
India appears to be waiting for Pakistan to blink on Kashmir.
India’s new government has sprung two back-to-back surprises on Pakistan: the first was inviting Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to the swearing-in of Prime Minister Narendra Modi; the second was the about-face on foreign secretary level talks upon the resumption of dialogue.
The first of these was seemingly couched in Indian regional diplomacy, but was mainly directed at Pakistan. The message was that with a new right-leaning government in New Delhi, Pakistan could expect bolder movement on the outstanding issues between the two.
However, the second stemmed from the new government’s reluctance to be brought to the negotiating table under Pakistani pressure. There were an estimated 95 incidents along the Line of Control (LoC) this summer, with 25 on the international border (or “working boundary,” according to Pakistan).
A strategic view of the increase in action along the LoC is that it is the Pakistani military’s attempt to get India to engage meaningfully. A political view is that it was intended to position the military favorably within Pakistan, to first gain credibility for the talks by pushing India to the table, and second to caution the Pakistani government against any “sell out.”
In this event, the Pakistani high commissioner’s meeting with Kashmiri separatists, something traditionally acceded to by India, provided the pretext for the cancellation. It was India’s message to Pakistan’s “miltastablishment,” to use former Punjab Chief Minister Najam Sethi’s phrase, that force will not work, particularly on a new government with a “tough” self-image.
India’s outstretched hand in the Rashtrapati Bhawan (Presidential Residence) forecourt appeared promising for the peace constituency in Pakistan, which comprises liberals and the business lobby. It is a longstanding Indian policy to expand the peace constituency by holding out economic benefits as an incentive for Pakistan to go beyond the Kashmir question. Cancelling talks was unhelpful in empowering the peace lobby relative to India-skeptics in Pakistan.
It is apparent that India’s strategy does not rely on this constituency’s ability to marginalize hardliners. The cancellation and the manner it was done together suggest India’s intent to bring about change through other means.
In a speech to troops while in Leh, Modi pointed out that the Pakistani military’s shift to a proxy war was due to India’s conventional advantages. Obviously these advantages have not been so overwhelming they could deter a proxy war.
The ability to administer military punishment was found wanting when it was tested during the 2008 Mumbai attacks. Even though India has had a conventional doctrine for the nuclear age, called Cold Start, since the attack on India’s Parliament in December 2001, the military’s wherewithal to execute its policy could not keep pace given the strained economic circumstances during the later part of the last decade.
Deterrence deemed insufficient, India is now attempting to compel.
India is expected to import $250 billion in arms over the next ten years. It is filling in the gaps in its conventional inventory, such as artillery, to remove any doubt of credibility about its conventional deterrence. The amount of foreign investment allowed in defense manufacturing has been upped to 49 percent. Since assuming office, the prime minister has visited Jammu and Kashmir twice, addressing troops on both occasions. Additionally, keeping the defense portfolio without a full-time minister has allowed Modi to keep a closer eye on it.
Three warships have been commissioned in close succession, although two of them are reportedly not quite ready. The buildup on the Chinese front, reviewed most recently by the part-time defense minister in August when he visited the mountain strike corps forming there, could prove useful on the western front too. Carte blanche has been given to the Army and the Border Security Force by respective ministers to administer a “befitting reply” on the LoC and international border.
Within this flurry of activity is couched a message for Pakistan. Thus far, Pakistan has been upping the ante in the hope of getting India to move on Kashmir. This time around, India hopes to increase pressure to get Pakistan to forget Kashmir.
Will this strategy succeed?
Pakistan, for its part, has a counter-strategy of ensuring that it is always in a position to credibly show itself in conflict with India. All it needs to do to win is to avoid losing. Further, its moves on the nuclear front are meant to convey the threat of escalation. This places India’s conventional threat in question, as it is based on keeping any conflict non-nuclear.
Indeed, a paradox emerges in that the more successful India is in its armament program, the greater is the probability of Pakistan’s proxy war challenge heightening at the lower end of the conflict spectrum, and the nuclear shadow lengthening at the upper end.
In Rawalpindi’s perception, with the U.S. set to exit Afghanistan and “good behavior” on Kashmir over the past decade not having “worked,” it may be back to business. Besides, it might be better for Kashmir to act as a sink for surplus Islamist energy than Pakistan’s cities and Punjab. The spike in firing incidents since talks were cancelled suggests as much.
India could also undertake a proxy war itself, an accusation Pakistan has made before, most notably at the Sharm-el Sheikh joint statement in Egypt. The appointment of an intelligence czar as India’s national security advisor is an indicator. Afghanistan readily lends itself as a suitable site for such an endeavor. Any such conflict would certainly spill-over into Pakistan. In India’s calculation, placing Pakistan on its back foot could make it less adventurous in Kashmir.
A strategy of overawing Pakistan is dangerous. Four potential proxy wars threaten: in Afghanistan, its spillover into Pakistan, in Kashmir, and in Islamist terror in India; this last heightened by al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahari’s latest video. At the same time there would be conventional and nuclear muscle-flexing by both sides.
Given such dangers, India and Pakistan would do well to restart the peace process at the earliest opportunity, during the two prime ministers’ appearances at the U.N. at the end of next month. At the least, it would reinsert a buffer between crisis and conflict.
Realistically, this may not be on the cards. India, set on upping the ante, may have decided to hold course no matter what. In this game of chicken, it hopes Pakistan’s army will be the first to blink. This is a touching, if entirely unfounded, faith in Pakistan’s army.


By Anurag Tripathi
On Sep 6, 2014, a 28-year-old Sikh man, identified as Harjeet Singh, was shot dead by unidentified assailants in Peshawar, the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
A few days earlier, on Sep 3, a member of the Sikh community was stabbed to death inside his shop in Shaheedan Bazaar of Mardan Town (Mardan District).
Prior to that, Aug 6, a Sikh shopkeeper, identified as Jagmohan Singh, was killed and two of his friends, one identified as Paramjit, were injured when unidentified armed assailants opened fire at them at Khushal Bazaar in Hashtnagri area of provincial capital Peshawar.
Pakistan’s treatment of its minorities has been shabby since its birth in 1947 on communal lines. It has become increasingly unsafe for minorities. In recent years, minorities who make up 3% of Pakistan’s 180 million people, including Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Shias, and Ahmadis have become the target of ongoing violence and persecution across the country.
The sporadic rise in the killings of minorities in Pakistan is a manifestation of the perpetual anarchy that has gripped the ‘land of the pure’ – Pakistan, with no hope of refuge for the targeted community. Militant outfits, like the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and its extremist allies, along with subtle State support, and ideological backing from religious elites, forms the militant troika that has encouraged and thereby sustained the killing of the minority community.
According to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report titled ‘Violence towards Religious Communities in Pakistan’, published in August 2014, over the one-year period from July 2013 to June 2014, at least 430 people were killed in a total 122 attacks against minorities in Pakistan. These include 222 Shias in 54 attacks; 128 Christians in 22 recorded incidents; 10 Ahmadis in 10 such attacks; and two Sikhs in three attacks. There are four attacks recorded on the Hindu community in this period, with no fatality reported; 68 victims belonged to other religious/sectarian groups, in 29 attacks. In the corresponding period of the preceding year, a total of 567 people were killed in a total of 150 religiously motivated attacks, including 514 Shias killed in 54 attacks; 17 Ahmadis in 40 attacks; seven Christians in 32 attacks; two Hindus in 10 attacks; and one Sikh in two attacks. 26 ‘others’ were killed in another 12 incidents.
As is well evident from the above mentioned data, the targets in these cases of violence are mostly minorities both within and outside the realm of “Islam” often preached by the clerics to instigate and cause divide in the already fragmented Pakistani society.
Incidents of violence against the Sikhs in Pakistan have a long history. In 2010, TTP terrorists exhibited their barbarism by beheading two Sikh men, identified as Jaspal Singh and Mahal Singh in the Khyber and Orakzai Agencies of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and sent their heads to the Bhai Joga Singh Gurudwara (Sikhs place of worship) in Peshawar. Two of their companions, identified as Gurvinder Singh and Gurjit Singh, were held captive by the terrorists. This spine chilling incident came after repeated threats to the community to convert to Islam.
In April 2009, in a painful case of history repeating itself, TTP started levying ‘Jaziya’ (tax) on minority Sikh families in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Taliban militants in their first-ever attack on the Sikh community, resorted to forcible occupation of ten of their houses in Samar Ferozkhel area of lower Orakzai Agency. The militants also took their leader Sardar Kalyan Singh as hostage and demanded PKR 60 million as ransom. The incidents triggered an exodus by the Sikh community from the area.
A media report on April 15, 2009 from Hangu said Sikh families living in Orakzai Agency left the area after the TTP demanded PKR50 million as ‘Jaziya’ from them. On April 30, 2009, TTP in Orakzai Agency of FATA banished 50 Sikh families from the agency for not paying Jaziya and even auctioned their goods to recover a fraction of the PKR12 million taxes originally demanded.
Meanwhile, on the recent incidents on Sikh minorities, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak while strongly condemning the gruesome target killing of a Sikh trader and rendering of his two companions injured near Hashtnagri has termed it a heinous terror attempt and conspiracy of the anti-state and anti-nation elements in the pretext of Waziristan operation. The chief minister said the Sikh community is part and parcel of our entity and their services for the nation and country are an open secret.
Global Minorities Alliance Chief Executive, Manassi Bernard, lamented the Pakistan government’s inability to protect minorities who continue to face all forms of violence, intimidation and persecution under one pretext or another. He expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and demanded that the Pakistan government punish the culprit as soon as possible. He further added: “Sikh communities are the peaceful citizens of Pakistan who are working hard to feed their families through the sweat of their brow. The Pakistan government should ensure that protection be provided to its own citizens.”
Despite these often repeated and brazen threats, the government, both at the centre and in the Province, has initiated no corrective measures.
Conspicuously, the State’s inaction in mounting effective resistance against the militants is suggestive of collusion and collaboration, each serving the interest of the other. Pakistan has become the operational base for various sectarian militant outfits. The killing of Sikhs is a manifestation of the existence of an embedded militant troika – where three crucial players – religious heads, militant operators and the State, work in tandem in massacring the fraught community.

Beleaguered Pakistani Capital Inches Back to Normal

If there were just one image to evoke the chaos of the protests that have paralyzed this city and brought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s government to the brink of collapse over the last month, it would surely be that of a shipping container.
The authorities initially stacked the huge metal containers at crucial travel points around Islamabad, the country’s capital, to serve as roadblocks and barricades to control the protesters. But the rectangular metal boxes were soon commandeered by the demonstrators, who began using them as speaking platforms and temporary housing. Many of the containers became billboards, too, spray-painted with antigovernment slogans like “Go Nawaz Go” and “Revolution.”
Before long, the hulking steel boxes of red, blue or burgundy seemed to be everywhere, cluttering roadsides and sidewalks and snarling traffic — a lingering nuisance that residents here wish would go away.
Pakistani opposition protesters threw stones toward police during clashes Saturday near Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's residence in Islamabad.Pakistani Opposition Clashes With the Police AUG. 30, 2014
On Tuesday, Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court ordered the city administration to remove the “unnecessary containers” within a week. Justice Minallah also ordered the police to vacate public school buildings, where at least 20,000 officers had been billeted since they were marshaled in mid-August to maintain order.
Islamabad is not used to having life disrupted by vast traffic jams, barricaded streets and teeming political rallies. It tends to be a relatively quiet and disciplined city compared with others in the country, and the government usually keeps it tidy. But the protests have derailed ordinary life here for weeks, residents say, and things are only just beginning to inch back to normal.
“People are getting tired of the protests because things are at a standstill,” said Mariam Chaudhry, a talk-show host on state-run television. “Movement across town is restricted. One has to think before going anywhere. Other parts of the city also seem empty-ish. There are fewer people in the markets.”
Public schools were supposed to reopen Aug. 25, but officials postponed the start to Sept. 3 because of the protests. Some schools have yet to reopen because the police still occupy their buildings, annoying parents and teachers. “It’s been 20 days of continuous holidays,” said one parent, Shams Abbasi.
Businesses have also been disrupted and merchants in the capital say they have suffered huge financial losses. Some placed the blame on the organizers of the protests, the opposition leaders Imran Khan, a former cricketer, and the Muslim preacher Muhammad Tahir-ul Qadri.
“After 26 days of protest with no fruitful results, it shows that the two leaders have failed in achieving any of their objectives and instead they disturbed the lives of the people,” Muhammad Ashraf, a restaurant owner, said. At Depilex, a well-known salon in the capital, the first week of protests kept many customers away. “Business is only picking up now,” said Shahbaz Masih, 32, a hairstylist.
A representative of the city’s business community, Ajmal Baloch, who filed a petition in the Islamabad High Court against Mr. Khan and Mr. Qadri over the disruptions, estimates that merchants in Islamabad have suffered losses of at least 10 billion rupees, around $100 million, a figure that could not be verified independently.
“Even the vegetable and fruit markets of the capital remained closed for two weeks because of ongoing protests,” Mr. Baloch said.
The containers are also a drain on public finances — the government is paying $35 to $40 a day to rent each one, officials said. Many were commandeered on little or no notice by the police, who were hurrying to use them to block the path of the protesters.
“Around 1,000 shipping containers, some of them loaded with different goods, have been placed for blocking roads in Islamabad,” said Fazal Manan Jadoon, a leader of a trade association of Pakistani truckers based in Karachi. “It has caused severe loss to the traders,” he said.
Day laborers have also suffered. Akbar Ali, who came to Islamabad in search of work at the beginning of August, said that he had been unable to find any day work because of the protests.
The police have deployed large numbers of officers around major government buildings to keep protesters out at the expense of regular police work elsewhere in the capital. Officials say that has left the city more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. “There are 56 checkpoints across the capital which remained unmanned for 16 days,” said a senior police official at the Aabpara Police Station, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he had not been authorized to speak to reporters. He said there was concern that crowds of protesters would overwhelm officers at checkpoints and torture them in retaliation for previous clashes.
At the sit-in protests outside the Parliament building, Mr. Khan and Mr. Qadri spend their time in two heavy steel containers that are thought to be bulletproof. Around them, thousands of supporters brave the intermittent rain showers, living on the streets in an increasingly unhygienic environment with little access to food or toilets.
Constitution Avenue, where protesters have set up a tent city, reeks and is strewed with litter. A doctor at the Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences said that a number of protesters had come to the hospital recently suffering from diarrhea. Health officials say the danger of an outbreak of infectious disease among protesters at the sit-in is high.
The protesters seem undaunted.
Naeema Naseer, 35, one of hundreds of women who joined Mr. Qadri’s protest march from Lahore, said that she had not expected to stay in Islamabad so long. “It is true that we are now missing our families back home,” Ms. Naseer said. “But we are determined to stay here until the demands are met.”
For now, the containers remain. On Thursday, at a major traffic square leading to the government district, several had finally been pushed out of the way, but still loomed over the traffic from the side. One sat diagonally on the street, providing just enough room for cars to get by in a narrow single file.

Exhausted and frustrated, Pakistani protesters want to go home

Arshad Shah, a Pakistani protester, feels trapped: worn out after weeks of street demonstrations against the government, he wants to go home but protest organizers will not let him.
Like many other protesters led by cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, Shah said organizers had taken away his national identification card to prevent him from leaving the protest site outside government offices in the center of the Pakistani capital.
"Some (organizers) will make up excuses for why they can't return out cards yet, others will just say directly that we can't leave until the sit-in is over," said Shah who joined the rallies from the central Pakistani city of Sargodha.
"I just want our cards back so we can leave."
Others said they were instructed to turn in their cards on a daily basis, get paid to spend the day at the rally and claim the card back at the end of the day.
"I come in the morning and submit my CNIC (Computerised National Identity Card) to Qadri's people who then give us our daily wages of 300-400 rupees ($3-$4). We then sit around here all day," said Niaz Ahmed, a daily wage labourer.
"After Dr Qadri makes his speech in the evening, we get our ID cards back and off we go. The next day we come back again. I'm making almost the same money sitting around here all day as I did working hard all day."Anti-government demonstrations erupted in Pakistan last month, with protest organizers saying their supporters will not leave until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigns - a month-long standoff which has destabilized the South Asian nation.
Several attempts by Sharif's aides to find a negotiated solution have failed, with protest organizers refusing to back down from their demand for his resignation.
The confrontation briefly turned violent at the end of last month, with thousands trying to storm Sharif's house.
But since then, the protests have dragged on listlessly, with weary protesters huddling inside their tents or sleeping on the grass verges of the capital's grandest avenues.
Qadri's camp categorically denied allegations that it was paying its activists or taking their identity cards away.
"Dr Qadri has openly allowed people to leave if they have to. He announced this in public as well," said Shahid Mursaleen, a spokesman for Qadri's party.
"I strongly reject this accusation. This is untrue and those who are saying this are probably not Dr Qadri's protesters."
Qadri's activists have rallied alongside protesters led by another opposition politician, former cricket hero Imran Khan.
Unlike Khan's supporters who tend to gather in the evening, Qadri's protesters are camped out outside government offices all day, sleeping and sheltering from the scorching sun or monsoon downpours in tents.
The protest site, within walking distance of many embassies and ministries, is in a sorry state, littered with rubbish, with the stench of human waste hanging in the air.
On the edge of the protest site, men line up every day near a burst pipe and take showers one by one. Women complain that they have hardly showered more than a few times in the last month. Some fear an outbreak of mosquito-borne dengue fever among the protesters.
"The disease can rapidly spread," said Dengue Expert Committee Chairman Javed Akram. "There is no proper sewerage facility in the area. The vulnerability of the sit-in participants has increased because of the unavailability of a waste management system."
At least three women protesters, all of them domestic workers, said they had been paid to come to the rallies when they were first launched. One of them, with three children under the age of six, said mothers were paid 2,500 rupees ($25) more.
"You got paid more if you have a child," said Rukhsana Bibi, one of the women. "They wanted more women with children to join the rallies so the pay for that was higher."

Pakistan: Imran Khan Seeks Explanation About Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif's Overseas Assets

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan today alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif owned a property in a posh area of London and had invested millions of dollars in Europe.
Mr Khan claimed that Mr Sharif had made nearly $320 million worth of investments in Europe, against which there were no official record of receipts.
"I ask you Nawaz Sharif, where did you get this money from," asked Mr Khan.
The PTI chief further called for accountability for the Hyde Park property worth Rs. 800 million in London, owned by Mr Sharif through Flagship Investments in the name of his son Hussain Nawaz.
"Nawaz will never be held accountable for this in the National Assembly, no one will raise this question since those in the opposition are also corrupt," Mr Khan was quoted by the Pakistan Tribune as saying.
Mr Khan also pointed towards four sugar mills owned by the Sharif brothers and how their governance was used to further personal business interests.
He claimed that according to a 2005 report by the Trading Corporation of Pakistan, the Sharif brothers had taken money to supply sugar.
"Nawaz owes TCP Rs. 510 million," he said. Mr Khan also vowed to continue demonstrations till Mr Sharif steps down, alleging he came to power last year through rigged elections.

Pakistan: FC digging 480 KM long trench on Pak-Afghan border

The Paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC) Balochistan has started digging 480-kilometre-long trenches along the border with Afghanistan in order to curb incursions across this border into Pakistan. Soldiers have completed digging roughly 235 kilometres of the trench and the remainder is expected to be completed by October 30. An estimated Rs260 million has been spent on the work on these trenches to date.
“We want to check incursions of terrorists and smugglers into Pakistan and the trenches will help control the situation along the Afghan border,” said Colonel Faheem Babar, Commandant Qila Saifullah Scouts.
The trenches are eight feet in depth and 10 feet wide. A 111-kilometre-long trench near the Afghan border had been cleaned and repaired by soldiers recently. Hundreds of soldiers from Zhob militia, Qila Saifullah Scouts, Naushki militia, Taftan Rifles, Makran Scouts and Dalbandin Rifles are taking part in digging the trenches. At least 70 excavators, dumpers and other heavy machineries are engaged in digging.
According to the FC, there is no ‘frequent route’ along the 1,270-kilometre-long Pak-Afghan border which also includes the rough terrain of mountains. Terrorists and smugglers often take advantage of these infrequent routes to enter Pakistan illegally. “They easily smuggle goods into Pakistan without paying taxes and custom duties,” an FC official said. The smuggled items include drugs, arms and ammunitions.
The FC official said that in recent weeks around 60 to 70 terrorists intruded into Pakistani territory from Afghanistan near the Murgha Faqirzai area of Balochistan in order to carry out attacks but FC soldiers foiled their attempts. “There was a heavy exchange of fire which also killed an FC soldier while two terrorists were also killed,” the FC spokesperson said.

Pakistan: A Christian Man Accused Of Blasphemy In Bahawalpur

Police have taken into custody a Christian convert from Hinduism and his Hindu co-worker for allegedly burning Quran and a chart of Quranic verses.
According to details, Police arrested school custodians Javed Masih, a Christian, and Anand Lal, a Hindu, hours after Syed Abdul Ghafoor Shah, senior headmaster of the Government Excellence High School in Satellite Town, Bahawalpur District, filed a First Information Report (FIR) about charred Quranic verses at the institution. The FIR did not mention Masih and Lal, but police picked them up on the basis of a later supplementary statement by Shah.
Javed Masih’s wife said that soon after the arrests, a mob – led by Allama Shafqat al-Rehman and Maulana Muhammad Ishaq Saqi gathered near their house. The leaders made inflammatory speeches, calling on the mob to burn down the house and kill the “blasphemer’s children.” However, Javed’s family and attorney, said Islamist groups have falsely accused the two men in response to an increasing number of Hindus converting to Christianity in southern Punjab Province.
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Pakistan: Punjab Chief Minister avoids being seen at Ahmadiyya Flood Relief Camp

Ahmadiyya Times
The Chief Minister of the Punjab, Mian Shahbaz Sharif, ended-up in Rabwah today because his helicopter could only land at the Rasheed Rice Mills grounds owned by an Ahmadi, right next to the Ahmadiyya Flood Relief Camp.
The Chief Minister was in the area to attend a political gathering for flood victims at a village near Dawer, about 10 Kilometer from Rabwah, it was reported.
Due to a technical problem, the helicopter could not fly out and while waiting, the Chief Minister was made aware of the significant relief camp activity underway across from his makeshift helipad.
However, as it turned out, this particular flood relief camp wasn't the right place for the Chief Minister to be seen visiting even though he waited some 40 minutes for his helicopter's take-off.
“Jamat's flood relief camp where food was being served at that time to a reasonable number of flood victim but he [CM] didn't had time for them,” wrote Saleemuddin, the Ahmadiyya spokesperson in Pakistan, in his Twitter post. “People who come to our camps are not just Ahmadis and our service is for humanity -- and the rest is left to your imagination and judgment.”
According to Mr. Saleemuddin, more than thirty-two thousand people have been provided food, nearly twelve hundred people were rescued and about twenty-four hundred people have been provided medical aid by the Ahmadiyya Flood Relief Camp volunteers.
In the town of Rabwah, Mr Saleemuddin reported, 2 children; Saqib Shabir, age 12, and Takreem Ahmad, age 13 were drowned when they faced flood waters near Factory Area and their dead bodies were recovered by Ahmadi youth search teams after 5 hours of constant search.

Pakistan's Shia Genocide: Eleven Shia doctors target killed by Deobandi militants during Jan-Sep 2014

by Abdul Nishapuri
Another Shia doctor was target killed in Karachi, Pakistan, on 11 September 2014. According to initial reports, sectarian terrorists of banned Deobandi outfit Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (ASWJ) attacked and target killed Dr Abdul Aziz, a Shia physician, at his clinic near Madni Mosque, Korangi 1-1/2. This the the latest attack targeting Shia Muslims community in Pakistan. Shia professionals in particualr Shia doctors are being targetted by Deobandi militants along with ordinary Shia citizens. Moreover, Deobandi militants are also target killing Sunni Sufi Muslims because of sectarian hatred.
Only a few days ago, on Thursday, 28 August, another doctor was killed in the same city. Dr Aun Naseem Jafferi was shot dead while he was examining and treating patients at his clinic. Three gunmen riding on a motorcycle appeared and opened fire on the doctor, injuring him. The wounded victim was taken to Jinnah Post Graduate Medical Centre (JPMC) where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival, said Dr Seemi Jamali, head of the emergency department.
Dr Aun’s assassination increased the death toll of killed Shia doctors to eleven during the last nine months. In the last four years, more than 29 Shia doctors along with dozens of lawyers, teachers and businessmen have been target killed in Pakistan.
In the long unabatedly ongoing systematic killing of Shia Muslims, professionals from many sectors, including doctors, lawyers and teachers, have been frequently targeted right across Pakistan.
While Shias and Sunni Sufis are being target killed across Pakistan, Sindh province, Karachi in particualr, has become a graveyard of Shias and Sunni Sufis. Sindh government, currently ruled by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has failed to take action against Aurangzeb Farooqi Group of ASWJ, known for frequent incitmnt of violence against Shias and Sunni Sufis.
Three weeks earlier, Dr Amir Mehdi, 56, was targeted exactly in the same manner at his ‘Rifah-i-Aam Clinic’ in Karachi when two assailants riding on a motorcycle emerged there, fired shots and rode away. Dr Amir and his compounder brother, Nihal Ali, suffered bullet wounds and were taken to, where Dr Mehdi was pronounced dead.
Condemning the killing of Dr Amir in an emergency meeting, Pakistan Medical Association (PMA C & K) said, “The menace of sectarian violence in our society is increasing day by day. Up-till now, so many innocent doctors have fallen prey to this barbarism. It seems that the government is totally unmoved and unwilling to fulfill its responsibility of providing safety and security to the doctors.”
The systematic target killing of Shia doctors in Pakistan is a part of systematic massacres of Sunni Sufis, Barelvis and Shia Muslims in Pakistan at the hands of the Wahhabi influenced Deobandi militants.
Two banned Deobandi terror outfits, namely Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ aka LeJ) and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) are known for hate speech and violence against Sunni Sufis, Barelvis and Shia Muslims. According to an esimate, more than 10,000 Sunni Sufis, 22,000 Shias and hundreds of Ahmadis and Christians have died at the hands of Deobandi ASWJ-TTP militants. Ruling PMLN party of PM Nawaz Sharif is known for political and ideological sympatheis with Deobandis while provincinal government of PPP in Sindh has failed to take action against ASWJ Farooqi Group known for hate speech and violence against Shias, Sunni Sufis and other non-Deobandi communities.
On 30 May 2014, Dr Hassan Ali was ambushed near Fatima Bai Hospital, Hussainabad area of District Central Karachi and sprayed with bullets. He died on the spot.
Ali Abbas Taj, a well-known Human Rights Campaigner based in Los Angeles, condemned the systematic target killing of Shia doctors who serve fellow human beings without discrimination. Taj also urged media and rights activists to clearly mention that Shia and Sunni Sufi identity of vcitims and Deobandi identity of perpetartors of violence.
On the evening of 13th May, unknown masked men gunned down Dr Faisal Manzoor, while he was standing outside his hospital on Grant Trunk (GT) Road, Hassanabdal. The deceased was a famous social and political personality of the area. He also served as the general secretary of Abdalians Old Boys Association for some time. Dr Babar Ellahi, a cousin of the Dr Faisal Manzoor, was also shot and killed on March 18 when he was returning from the same hospital.
Hassanabdal is small town, 40 km northwest of Rawalpindi and has a population of about over 50,000 yet the police failed to apprehend the culprits. Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan took notice of the target killing of two health practitioners and formed a special probe team to investigate the case and arrest the target killers but any result is yet to been seen.
Dr Syed Haider Raza, 50, Dr Qasim Abbas, a 45 years old homeopath, were targeted and killed in Karachi. On April 9th, after performing his duty in the outpatient department, Dr Raza left the Darul Sehat Hospital in his car for his residence in Gulshan-i-Iqbal. Three suspects riding a motorcycle and wearing helmets intercepted him, said Karachi East SSP Syed Pir Mohammed Shah. They fired at him at point-blank range in the temple and fled, the police added. The victim died within seconds on the spot. The deceased, father of two, was a surgeon and head of the emergency section of the hospital.
While Dr Qasim (8 April) along with his driver, Kaleemuddin, came out of the clinic to go somewhere, “two unidentified men on a motorcycle intercepted their car and opened fire on Abbas and his driver, Kaleemuddin, sustained several bullet wounds. They were shifted to a nearby hospital where Abbas succumbed to wounds.Police Officer Muhammad Irfan revealed that several empties of 9mm of pistols were found from the site. Dr Ghulam Mustafa, an owner of the Shakir Medical Centre in Khanpur (Rahimyar Khan, Punjab), was on his way home when unidentified men on a motorcycle shot at him and fled on January 28. His son Farhan Mustafa told media that his father was receiving threats calls from unidentified persons and he had no enmity in the area. The incident was followed by several protest rallies organized by members of the Shia Muslims community. The protesters gathered in front of Mustafa’s house and shouted slogans against the police. Shia Ulema Council tehsil president Syed Sajjad Hussain Shah said the assault was a target killing and part of the Shia genocide in the country.
16 Jan: Dr Asif Hussain arrived in a car at his clinic in Sector 15-A-1 of Buffer Zone, Karachi, and was walking towards his clinic after parking the car when two armed pillion-riders, who were already waiting for him there, fired at him and fled. The wounded doctor was taken to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead on arrival. Police said, “The murder appeared to be an outcome of sectarianism.”
Demonstrating their presence in South Punjab, the unidentified target killers, believed to be Deobandi militants, shot twice 59-year-old Dr Azhar Hussain as he arrived at his residence on January 05. When he fell off his colleague’s motorbike, the target killers shot him eight times at point blank range before escaping. Dr Hussain served as executive district health officer Rajanpur and in 10 other executive medical positions in different districts of Punjab. Residents of the district Rajanpur and blocked the Indus National Highway in protest, refusing to bury the body. Around 15,000 people participated in the demonstration chanting slogans against the government for allegedly supporting militant outfits. Systematic massacres of Shia Muslims and Sunni Sufis by Deobandi militants
Shia Muslims are considered infidels or kafir based on their sect by the extremist Deobandi militants groups such as Tahreek-e-Taliban (TTP), Sipah –e-Sahaba (SSP)/ Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat (ASWJ), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), Jundullah, Jaish-e-Muhammad and other splinter groups belonging to Salafi/Wahhabi and Deobandi Islam.
These very Deobandi terror outfits have also attacked Sunni Sufi shrines in Lahore (Data Darbar), Karachi (Abdullah Shah Ghazi), Balochistan (Jhal Magsi and Zikris), Islamabad (Bari Imam) and Peshawar (Rehman Baba) murdering more than 10,000 Sunni Sufis. In the most recent incident, at least 10 Zikri Sufi Muslims were killed by Deobandi militants in Awaran, Balochistan on 28 August 2014.
These formally banned but practically un-banned organizations have given public pledge to rid the Shia Muslims and Sunni Sufi Muslims off the country. Hence their violent campaign has been persistent in the country targeting Shia and Sunni Sufi communities. The ASWJ, the urban arm and face of TTP, is known to be a political ally of ruling PMLN party of PM Nawaz Sharif government.
The targeted elimination of prominent and professional members of the Shia Muslim community is now a norm in Pakistan. Doctors, lawyers, bankers, police officers and other professionals have been targeted amid at installing fear in the remaining community members, forcing them to cut-short their activities, change their faith or leave their country.
In a recently released report, Human Right Watch said, “since 2008, Pakistan’s Shia Muslim community has been the target of an unprecedented escalation in violence as militants have killed thousands of Shia Muslims across the country. ” The HRW clearly identified Deobandi outfits LeJ, ASWJ and TTP as perpetrators of violence against Shias. It may be noted that Sunni Muslims in general have rejected Deobandi outfits and their terrorism against Sunni Sufis and Shias.
“The Pakistani government’s response to this violence suggests incompetence, indifference, or possible complicity by security forces and other state personnel with the extremists. Authorities have failed to apprehend or prosecute members of militant groups. While Pakistan authorities claim to have arrested dozens of suspects linked to attacks against Shia since 2008, only a handful have been actually charged with any crimes,” said Phelim Kine, Deputy Asia Director, Human Rights Watch. “Until the Pakistan government takes all necessary measures to stop that campaign of violence, the slaughter of Shia Muslims community will continue with a vengeance,” He said further.
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Pakistan's Minority Communities Under Threat: Five Sikh families leave for India

The Express Tribune
Against the backdrop of escalating violence against religious minority communities, at least five Sikh families have left Pakistan for India, citing financial woes, a family elder revealed on Thursday.
Baba Amarjit Singh, a community senior in Peshawar, said that migrating families traded in commodities including textiles with India and had moved to seek better business opportunities.
“I don’t like going to India as our Guru was born and buried in Pakistan. The Indian government is always suspicious of our presence,” he said, expressing displeasure over their decision.
Members of the community have to meet stringent visa requirements for a pilgrimage to the Golden Temple, the holiest of Sikh shrines, in Amritsar, India.
Most pilgrims are allowed to visit India after they submit a written undertaking that they would not seek asylum and would return to Pakistan within 30 days.
“We have to make a group of at least 200 people to visit the Golden Temple and our visas are limited to just one week,” Amarjit said. Narrating the ordeal, he said, there is no respect for Sikhs travelling from Pakistan and it’s not easy for us to visit Amritsar, he added. Sikhs form a tiny community in the country, with a sizeable number of them concentrated in Punjab and Peshawar. Despite efforts by Islamabad, the current wave of migration seems to be continuing as most minority communities leave the country bearing tales of discrimination, mistreatment and widespread uncertainty.
Citing financial difficulties, Baba Gurpal Singh, another elder in the area, said that several Sikh families have migrated to Hassanabdal and Nankana Sahib.
“There are a variety of reasons for leaving Pakistan but the main problem is financial uncertainty and the deteriorating law and order situation,” he said.
Despite Lahore being a larger city, he said that lack of security and the atmosphere of fear stalks minority communities, even in urban areas.
“Some people have gone back to Tirah in search of better business prospects and the number of Sikh families which was 700 has fallen to 450,” he explained.
“We are a peaceful community but the unrest in Peshawar is forcing us to leave, despite the attitude of general public towards Sikhs in the area being very supportive,” he added.

Pakistan: Blood on the streets

On the first anniversary of the Karachi operation, launched amidst much hope and expectation, the police released a report claiming that target killings in the city had gone down by as much as 59 percent. The timing was unfortunate to say the least, given that Karachi is in the midst of another bout of target killings. Just a couple of days before the report was released, Allama Ali Akbar, the son of the Jafaria Alliance Pakistan chief Allama Abbas Kumaili, was killed. Around the same time, a policeman was shot dead in Kharadar and the son-in-law of the Jaamia Binoria SITE superintendent was also killed. The progress report issued by the police was obviously in the works before this recent wave of violence but its findings are massively undermined by the resurgence in target killings. In a new spell of violence that began around the end of August, some 50 people have already been killed. They add to the 850 or so killed in the city earlier during the year, according to records kept by monitoring bodies. Over 3000 died in terrorist or targeted attacks in Karachi in 2013, making it one of the most deadly cities in the world.
It is obvious the much touted security operation in Karachi has not really worked. It was started with a lot of fanfare but in recent months information about it has dried up. We no longer know how many people are being arrested or if the Rangers are the forefront of the operation. These and many other target killings are at times believed to be the work of a strengthened TTP presence in Karachi. The fact is that extremist groups, as well as criminal political gangs have long made Karachi their base. They could be linked to each other, or perhaps they work as different entities. The violence in Karachi is usually tackled as a law-enforcement problem and while it is true that better police work could reduce the killings the solution has to be political. Everyone from target killers to extortionists can operate at will because they have political patronage and protecting. Tragically, political violence often takes on an ethnic and sectarian dimension because of how support for political parties is distributed in Karachi. Vague attempts at deweaponisation have led nowhere with the problem linked in to political affiliations and to backing by political groups. To combat it, this patronage has to be put an end to and the major sectarian outfits operating in the city demolished. This can happen only as part of a wider drive against militancy, terrorism and violence. The city and its people have suffered too long. They need to be relieved of their pain as rapidly as possible through effective political and security actions.

Pakistan: PTI - PAT - Never-ending Story

This is taking longer than what was expected, perhaps by all players. The PTI and the PAT thought that the government would be gone by now. The government believed that the two parties would be unable to sustain their sit-ins for more than a week. It’s almost a month now since the sit-ins in Islamabad began and the deadlock is very much intact. The PTI-PAT duo, having allied themselves for all intents and purposes, find themselves running out of cards to play. Their populist rhetoric of change and revolution has failed to resonate with the masses, leaving them less power than required to send Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif home. For now, they can only boast about holding the ground, having failed to emerge victorious by any margin. The military, although sympathetic as evident from statements issued by the ISPR and PTI President Javed Hashmi’s startling revelations, has for now decided against intervening directly in support of the protestors. Behind the scenes, however, it is business as usual. With the amout of time rhat has passed with either party stagnating in its endavours, the nation is bored and analysts are at a loss. But what is even more clear is that these polititians are at a loss and have all got their backs up against the wall. It may not be pride and ego pushing the story, but sheer inefficiency to negotiate and talk themslelves out of a tight spot. Whether it be Imran’s team, team N or Qadri’s one man army.
The government, having survived the initial onslaught owing to critical support from almost all parties in the Parliament, is now navigating ways to move forward. The sit-ins have exposed its vulnerability and lack of control on affairs, and as long as they continue, it will have no choice but to sleep with one eye open. Being distracted from issues concerning governance and economy is not going to help in any way either. Negotiations with the PTI and the PAT are moving slowly, with little hope for an early and decisive breakthrough. Imran and Qadri continue to make fiery speeches, promising their supporters of no return until Nawaz’s resignation, casting serious doubts on the future of talks. Whether they are keeping up the ante to maintain a strong position on the negotiating table or they are simply insincere about the whole exercise, even more time shall reveal.

Pakistan: Wake up to a flood unreported, a crime unnoticed!

By Naveed Ahmad
Pakistan’s drowns in a ‘super’ flood. The worst seems yet to come. A microcosm of the same occurred along the left bank of Park Road all the way to twin Burma bridges on Friday. Hundreds of houses were flooded to knees of their inmates while dozens of cars floated like grass blades. There was no sense of alarm in the Interior Ministry, parent institution of the Capital Development Authority (CDA). A brief but vital army operation to airlift flood-stricken families from Burma Bridge unveiled the unfolding disaster but not for long. For circumstances like these, there goes a saying: when all else fails, lower your standards. The residents of Islamabad have broken all records in favor of havoc-wrecking Capital Development Authority. Since the mid 1990s, the city has withstood decline in civic services promised to maintain and flourish a model metropolis.Early Friday morning, the Mother Nature punished Islamabad’s optimistic dwellers. The heavy monsoon rain came as no surprise, given repeated forecasts and warnings by the Pakistan Meteorological Department. Characteristically, Islamabad’s hill slopes can ideally withstand heavy downpours with its scrub forests arresting land erosion.For bosses at the helm, it definitely required exceptional skills to beat the nature and create small, seasonal dams. The problem with their ‘unsung’ innovation, however, has been over crowding of the metropolis. Thanks to generous blessing of CDA’s distinguished ‘town planners’, beds of natural water channels were optimally used to accommodate never-ending urbanization.Some more-equal residents earned tacit consent of the authority to extend their lawns by landfilling the streams. Not so covertly, others built mud-shelters. The last decade proved the more profitable for the CDA.
They managed to transform the left bank of Park Road into a tribal area, dotted with posh-looking avenues and bungalows. The city’s private developers, often nicknamed as land mafia, continue to make promises and progress, not to mention swelling bank accounts.The real estate, encroached with impunity, has led to a construction boom, with plazas and mini-bungalows mushrooming at a record pace. With CDA officials on board, two such developers jealously battled with automatic arms to annex pathway of a sizeable nullah crisscrossing the COMSATS Institute of Information Technology. The befooled buyers of plots continue to pay bribes to get electricity or gas connectivity.
Invariably, the masterminds behind illegal housing avenues have backing of political parties such as PMLN, PPP, JUI-F and even PTI. The greenbelt serves as extended lawns if not the walled courtyards of the high and the mighty flanking the left bank of Rawal Road.Meeting the housing needs of various universities and colleges in the area, the CDA-blessed land developers are ripping of students in the name of quality hostel accommodation. One ‘Avenue’ supports a hoarding warning against opening a hostel without permission from the land developer. The political clout and endless promises of the land mafia, however, sank helplessly in the raging waters of the nullah. Sans proper embankment, over 100 houses in at least two such ‘avenues’ remain devastated while neither the CDA or its influential allies cared to visit the affected area. The flooding was hardly reported by the noisy television media. Even if a few tickers were run, neither the government nor the Islamabad High Court attended to the grim situation.
For Islamabad, the CDA is a bull in the China shop. Indifferent from repeated violations of its bylaws and confident to face zero public suits for damages, the bosses make merry.It’s a pity that neighboring areas of Simly and Rawal dams receive no warning when the spillways are opened and surplus water released. In face of heavy rain in Islamabad’s encatchment areas, the residents of its vulnerable areas are never alerted. Adding insult to the injury, there are little chances of financial or material compensation to the victims, mostly hailing from the middle and lower classes.Optimists believe that things may have been better had there been an elected local government in the federal capital. Since the theory was never put to test, thus it’s premature to pin hopes with it. With Lahore wearing the picture of a dam with over 15 million population, the capacity of civic institutions in Pakistan becomes even more debatable. Dr Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, MNA from NA-48 for the second term in a row, deserves some public accountability too. More frequently seen on TV talk shows than in his constituency, the man is alleged to have facilitated unplanned and illegal settlements in the area.For the inhabitants of NA-48, the only ray of hope comes from Islamabad High Court. Without a suo moto action against illegal and irregular construction activities may simply lead to major catastrophe. It’ll be too late when, God forbid, the next earthquake or floods hit the area. For a change, there may emerge a concerned citizen moving the courts against massive violations of CDA bylaws at the hands of politically aligned land mafia.

Pakistan: Qaeda claims dockyard attack; three navy men held

Al Qaeda’s new South Asia branch on Thursday claimed responsibility for a weekend raid on a Karachi naval yard that left a sailor and three attackers dead, saying former military officers had helped in the attack.
It is the first attack claimed by the terror network’s new wing, whose creation was announced by chief Ayman Al-Zawahiri last week. The claims, made on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York, will likely add to concerns about extremist infiltration of the Pakistani military’s ranks after the Taliban, who also claimed to be behind the attack, said they received inside help. Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had voiced concerns when addressing parliament on Wednesday, saying: “We cannot rule out the inside help in this attack because without it the miscreants could not breach security.”
Al Qaeda in South Asia was launched last week in what experts see as a bid to remain relevant in the face of rising competition by the Islamic State (IS). “The operation near Karachi shore was an attack by Al Qaeda in the Subcontinent,” an Urdu-language statement from the group sent to foreign news agency said. It claimed that the target of the raid was a “US supply ship” and said the dead attackers included former Pakistan navy officers. It was not immediately possible to confirm whether a US ship was present at the port. Commodore Nadeem Bukhari, a spokesman for the Pakistan Navy, said an investigation into the attack was under way. “It cannot be ruled out but it is still premature to say that it was an inside work,” he told France based news agency.

British born Pakistani Aqsa Mahmood heads ISIS Brothels, reports UK media

British born Aqsa Mahmood heads ISIS Brothels that are operated by the female police force “Al-Khanssaa Brigade”. She is daughter of Muzaffar Mahmood and Khalida Mahmood who settled in UK from Pakistan.
Daily Mirror from claims that thousands of Iraqi women have already been forced into sex slavery at the brothels , with as many as 3,000 women and girls been taken captive from the Yazidi tribe in Iraq over the course of the militants’ offensive across the region, according to the daily. ISIS believes the militants can use these women as they please as they are non-Muslims.
Daily Mirror claims that a key figure among the female police force is Aqsa Mahmood, 20, of Glasgow. At least three other British females have been identified as members of the group. A prominent figure in the police force, according to the UK-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalization (ICSR), is Aqsa Mahmood, a privately-educated Glaswegian 20-year-old who fled to Syria last November. His father Mahmood run a hotel and they live in Pollokshields on Glasgow’s south side.
Aqsa Mahmood, 20, also said plans to seize suspected terrorists’ passports and prevent them from returning to the UK was the “biggest joke of this week”.
And she warned the Prime Minister’s blood “would be spilled” – along with that of US President Barack Obama.
On her blog, she said: “The only time we will return is to raise our flag.
"My allegiance is and will only be to the Islamic State.
“Know this Cameron/Obama, you and your countries will be destroyed.”
Mahmood, who fled Glasgow in November, also pleaded for more Brits to join IS in Syria and Iraq.
She added: “This is a war and know that either you’re with them or with us.”
Mahmood’s friends said she had talked of moving to Syria to “help” fight Bashar Assad’s regime. But she had secretly hatched a plan to become a fully fledged terrorist.
In her blog she even incited other young girls to join her cause, saying: “The family you get in exchange for leaving the ones behind are like the pearl in comparison to the shell you threw away into the foam of the sea.” Follow us: @DailyMirror on Twitter | DailyMirror on Facebook